I am grateful to the many people who prepared our church for Christmas. A lot of work went into preparing the liturgies and the atmosphere to make the liturgies happen. I am also grateful to all those who have had Masses and prayers said for me. I can really sense this power and I really appreciate it. You are always in my prayers. There was also a great satisfaction in seeing so many people receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
An epiphany is an unusually sudden perception of the essential meaning of something. For us Catholics, on this feast of the Epiphany, it is the events progressively revealing that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, Our Savior and God’s anointed. Jesus of Nazareth comes with the Holy Spirit and with power . For this reason we can also say that the whole life of Jesus Christ is an epiphany. To this day there is an eruption in human history of an unbeatable force of love that can conquer all evils and we can be part of it because of the seven Sacraments given to us through the Church.
There are actually three mysteries that mark the Epiphany in the Catholic Church. The first is the adoration of Jesus by the wise men. These men were most likely Persian religious leaders with a primitive scientific background. By following the star, these pagans come to know the
Incarnation by studying the Jewish Scriptures. By following Micah’s prophecy, they proceed to Bethlehem. God’s vision to Abraham said, “In you all nations will be blessed.”
Salvation was open to the gentiles from the earliest times. The wise men are the first fruits of the Gentiles and become part of the Church based on their belief in Jesus. This seems to fulfil the Scripture, “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not nigh: a star shall come forth out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel” (Dt 24:17). The second Epiphany is the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan by John the Baptist. Here the heavens open and God the Father gives Jesus His credentials: “This is my beloved Son. Listen to Him.” The last of these Epiphanies is the wedding feast at Cana where water is changed into wine. This foreshadowed the Holy Eucharist. If God can transform water into wine and multiply loaves to feed thousands, what is to stop him from transforming bread into His Body?
Isaiah sees the God of the Old Testament is not just the God of the Israelites. All people He created are made in His image & likeness. The caravans from Arabia represent the gentiles. They will bring gold to emphasize His Royal Godhead, incense to acknowledge Him as the Priest of the New Covenant and myrrh to praise and celebrate His sacrifice which redeemed man. St. Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, a Jew himself, says that all who embrace Christ become co-heirs with Jews and members of the same Body.
By God’s design the wise men, in seeking the truth, investigate a new phenomena: a moving star. God generally works signs and wonders for unbelievers, and rarely for believers. As they leave the meeting with the corrupt Herod, the star’s behavior changes. It becomes a fixed point. They are now going to encounter DivineTruth. While the Magi give physical gifts to Jesus, Jesus is preparing to give them spiritual gifts for their souls. As the Magi return, they no longer retrace their steps by a star, but by God’s will directed through an angel. They, like Mary and Joseph, follow the message of God’s angel and go by another route free and enlightened by the Truth.
The wise men have been erroneously associated with astrology, a pagan rite which presents an unreal world where all is fixed. Astrology is sinful because it destroys Christian hope, freedom and personal responsibility. It weakens our faith by making us falsely independent of God and reliant on a lie. When we meet Christ and accept His Gospel, our lives change and we are driven to communicate our experience to others. Worshiping the true God is an authentic act of resistance to all forms of idolatry. Jesus is the Rock on which to build our future and a world of greater justice and solidarity. Jesus is the Prince of peace and the source of forgiveness and reconciliation.